Why Are Anxiety And Depression Closely Connected In Many Ways?

Last updated on March 2023

Understanding the Link Between Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are two mental health conditions that often go hand in hand and share commonalities. Understanding the close connection between them is crucial for effective treatment and support.

Depression, anxiety, mental health

Depression is a disorder that does not get nearly enough attention. Depressed people are often told to "cheer up" or to "look at the bright side" of things, and may spiral even deeper when they are unable to simply snap out of the mood that has such a hold on them. While depression can often lead to fatigue and listlessness, it has a close cousin by the name of anxiety. Anxiety causes the opposite effect, putting our bodies into the "fight or flight" mode that protected us in the wild.

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety attacks can feel like heart attacks, and even at more moderate levels, anxiety can have a dangerous and very negative effect on our lives and on our quality of living. Anxiety can also lead to depression when a sense of worry and fear for the future leads to a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. 

That is a classic symptom of depression. Depression and anxiety are often seen together, and can sometimes lead to one another. 

Anxiety Feelings Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression Depression and Obesity often come Hand in Hand

Anxiety Feelings

Anxiety is a way of describing a certain way of feeling. It may represent a sense of fear, dread, or a sense that you are in immediate danger, even when you are safe and have no reason to feel this way. 

There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders, including phobias or irrational fears, situational anxiety, panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders among others. 

These disorders can lead to a state of almost constant high stress and can affect your daily life much to the worse. You may be unable to function in certain situations, or you may come to fear leaving your own home, and if untreated, the symptoms of anxiety disorders can lead to many of the same problems as depression, including insomnia or a reluctance or fear to leave the house or to be around other people. Why Anxiety and Depression

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Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety symptoms can also feel like heart attacks, with palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pains, and more. You might begin trembling and shaking, your mouth might go dry, and you might become dizzy from the stress of the situation. 

The body becomes "hyped up" by your reaction to the situation, and your senses go into a sort of overdrive that is unlike the depression of the system that happens when you suffer from clinical depression. 

Depression disorder actually slows the body in some ways, making you feel sluggish rather than ready to run or fight, and hopeless rather than actively panicked or fearful. If you have been suffering from anxiety attacks, the attacks themselves may lead to depression because of the hopelessness that you feel at the hands of the attacks and because of the fears that are associated with possibly having another attack. 

If your anxiety symptoms have changed to include listlessness, disinterest in things that used to engage you, or feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing, then you may now be suffering from a depression disorder and should be treated accordingly for your medical condition. 

Depression is not a constant state of being, nor is anxiety. You might think that because you have a good number of "good days" your depressive days are just bad moments that will pass, however, depression can become worse over time if it is not treated and taken care of, and can lead to suicide if left untreated long enough. 

Depression and Obesity often come Hand in Hand

Obesity and depression are both serious conditions that affect millions of people worldwide. But they also share some surprising similarities. 

Both conditions tend to be chronic, meaning they last for long periods of time. And while there are many different types of depression, one thing they all have in common is an overactive brain region known as the amygdala. 
In fact, research suggests that when someone suffers from depression, their amygdala may actually become hyperactive.

Anxiety disorders and obesity

The connection between body weight and mental disorders remains an open issue. Low body weight has been studied enough (anorexia nervosa is a typical example) but high body weight has not been addressed sufficiently. It is known that obesity has been related to depression.
About 43 percent of adults with depression are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And they say adults who’ve been diagnosed with depression are more likely to be overweight than those who haven’t.

Depression, anxiety, mental health

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Anxiety and Depression Treatments

Anxiety can worsen over time as well if it is not handled properly. There are ways to help with anxiety even without medication. Therapies are different depending on the type of anxiety that affects you and on the level of anxiety that you suffer. 

For a phobia, you might be exposed at increasing levels to the thing that you are afraid of. 

Other therapies might require talking your problems out, and others might just provide techniques to help you ride out your panic attacks and get on with life without letting them affect you more than necessary. 

Depression treatments are also varied, mostly depending on your own personal preference. Medication can provide you with an effective way of dealing with depression; however, medication is not for everyone

Depression and anxiety are related disorders that can have a huge impact on your overall health and quality of life if left untreated. However, both are manageable conditions that do not have to have an effect on your daily life.

Here are a few reasons why depression and anxiety are closely connected:

  • Shared Neurotransmitters: Both depression and anxiety involve an imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. These chemicals play a role in regulating mood, emotions, and anxiety levels. When there is an imbalance, it can contribute to symptoms of both depression and anxiety.
  • Overlapping Symptoms: Depression and anxiety share several symptoms, such as persistent sadness, irritability, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and changes in appetite. This overlap can make it challenging to distinguish between the two conditions, and individuals may experience a combination of depressive and anxious symptoms.
  • Common Underlying Causes: Both depression and anxiety can stem from similar underlying causes, such as genetics, trauma, chronic stress, or imbalances in brain chemistry. Environmental factors, life events, and personality traits can also contribute to the development of both conditions.
  • Vicious Cycle: Depression and anxiety can feed into each other, creating a vicious cycle. For example, someone experiencing depression may worry excessively about the future or have irrational fears, leading to increased anxiety. Similarly, individuals with anxiety may become overwhelmed by their worries and develop feelings of hopelessness or sadness, leading to depressive symptoms.
  • Impact on Daily Functioning: Depression and anxiety can significantly impact daily functioning, including work, relationships, and self-care. The co-occurrence of these conditions can amplify the challenges individuals face in managing their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
  • Treatment Approaches: While depression and anxiety may require different treatment approaches, they often overlap in terms of therapeutic interventions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is effective in addressing both conditions by targeting negative thought patterns, improving coping skills, and promoting emotional regulation.

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